Research

Journal Articles

“The Pay What You Want Business Model: Warm Glow Revenues and Endogenous Price Discrimination” (with Mark Isaac and John Lightle) Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics Vol. 57, 215-222 (2015)

“Killing the (Coordination) Moment: How Ambiguity Eliminates the Restart Effect in Voluntary Contributions Mechanism Experiments” Economics Letters Vol. 126 (January 2015)

“The Parable of the Great Banquet: Insights from Laboratory Economics” with R. Mark Isaac Faith and Economics Vol. 63 (Spring 2014) 

“Endogenous institutions and the possibility of reverse crowding out” with R. Mark Isaac Public Choice, Vol. 156, 1-2 (2013)

“Experts with a conflict of interest: a source of ambiguity?” with R. Mark Isaac Vol. 15, 2 (June 2012) Experimental Economics

Monographs

“Just the Facts Ma’am: A Case Study of the Reversal of Corruption in the LAPD” with R. Mark Isaac Pivot Series (2013) Palgrave MacMillan: New York

Edited Volumes

“Passionate Providers and the Possibility of Public Commitment” (with Luke Boosey and Mark Isaac) (Forthcoming) THE WSPC (World Scientific Publishing Company) Reference of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy in the Era of Global Change [Tentative Title] Eds. Anabela Bothelo, Ariel Dinar, and Ligia Pinto.

“Introduction to Experiments on Energy, the Environment, and Sustainability” with R. Mark Isaac in

Research in Experimental Economics Volume 14: Experiments on Energy, the Environment, and Sustainability (2011). Eds. Mark Isaac and Douglas A. Norton. Emerald Press.

“Experiments with Public Goods: From Cooperation to Formation” with R. Mark Isaac in Research in Experimental Economics Volume 13: Charity with Choice (2010). Eds R. Mark Isaac and Douglas A. Norton. Emerald Press.

“The Retained Earnings Maximizing Nonprofit Enterprise” Research in Experimental Economics Volume 13: Charity with Choice (2010) Eds. R. Mark Isaac and Douglas A. Norton. Emerald Press.

“Endogenous Production Technology in Public Goods Enterprises” with R. Mark Isaac in Research in Experimental Economics Volume 13: Charity with Choice (2010) Eds. R. Mark Isaac and Douglas A. Norton. Emerald Press.

Working Papers

"A New Experimental Mechanism to Investigate Polarized Demands for Public Good Provision" (with Mark Isaac and Svetlana Pevnitskaya)
Status: Submitted
Many social dilemmas involve deciding among alternative public goods and include cases where part of the population may dislike a particular option. We propose the Generalized Voluntary Contributions Mechanism (GVCM) where the message space includes an option to reduce the public good and the outcome space allows for its negative provision. We study the performance of the GVCM in an environment with polar heterogeneous preferences, i.e. when the public good for some players is a public bad for others. Our main treatment variables include two versions of the GVCM (censored or uncensored at positive provision) and two compositions of the polarized preferences. Uncensoring the mechanism does not impose net efficiency costs and it leads to more diversity in the provision of the public good.


"The Backward Hustle: Waging a Living in the Lab" (with John Gibson and Robert A. White)
Status: Making Revisions
How do discontinuous jumps in effective marginal tax rates, called "cliff points" or "notches," affect labor supply decisions? We conduct a laboratory experiment with a real effort task where individuals receive a piece-rate payment. We manipulate the shape of the piece-rate earnings schedule to imitate the kinks, notches, and flat spots present in the United States tax code when reductions in transfer payments are accounted for. We conduct two rounds of the real effort task. In the first round we find no differences in labor supplied across our payment schedules. However, in the second round we find clean evidence of "bunching'' in the treatments with notches as predicted by behavioral theories like loss aversion. Our evidence suggests that behavioral responses to tax incentives are learned. Despite zero (labor supply) adjustment costs some subjects fail to bunch. We find no quantitative evidence for proposed optimization frictions like inattention and overconfidence.


"An Experimental Investigation of Warm Glow and Hidden Income"
Status: Making Revisions
Literature on the causes and consequences of tax evasion has grown in recent years. This research adds to that literature by investigating the consequences of tax evasion for crowding-out of public goods and considering warm glow motivations for hidden income. In a recent theoretical paper, Hungerman (2014) shows that when public goods are jointly provided that individuals are motivated to evade taxes (at a cost) for the purpose of increasing private donations which lead to warm glow utility. This set up yields a non-standard result from the warm glow model: greater warm glow leads to greater crowding-out. I design a laboratory public goods experiment to test the effects of tax evasion on crowding-out. In the experiment individuals are induced with Cobb-Douglas preferences over a private consumption good and a public good and make decisions in three person groups across 24 periods. Each period proceeds in two stages. In the first stage a tax is levied on each individual's endowment. In the second stage individuals can make private donations with their after-tax endowment. I manipulate the tax rate individuals face and whether income can be hidden in the first stage. After the completion of the experiment I collect measures of warm glow from two modified dictator games and a post-experiment questionnaire. The outcomes of the experiment, both when tax evasion is possible or impossible, are consistent with warm glow motivations. However, there is no reliable connection between the collected measures of warm glow and the actions taken in the experiment.

"Eliciting Contributor Types in a Repeated Public Goods Game" (with Luke Boosey, Mark Isaac, and Joseph Stinn)
Status: Submitted
A large number of experimental studies use the strategy method procedure introduced by Fischbacher et al. (2001) to measure individuals’ attitudes towards cooperation. The procedure elicits subjects’ strategic-form decisions in a one-shot game and classifies each subject as one of several different contributor types. As the procedure has gained in popularity, researchers have sought to use the resulting classifications to help explain the decline in average contributions in multi-period settings. In this paper, we offer some cautionary advice on using the procedure for the purpose of explaining contributions in a repeated game environment. We find that the elicited contributor types are much better able to explain behavior in the repeated game experiment when the possibility of any future interaction after the final period is completely eliminated. We also find that the classification procedure is sensitive to the instructions, and particularly to the inclusion of control questions. One potential explanation is that the control questions improve the subjects’understanding of the incentives in the linear public goods game. Alternatively, we explore the link between subjects’ classified contributor types and the time they spend waiting for others to complete the control questions. We relate our discussion to recent evidence suggesting that players become less cooperative when they are bored or when they have time to deliberate on their decisions.

Works in Progress
Experimental Economics and Culture - Research in Experimental Economics Volume (co-edited with Anna Gunnthorsdottir)
The Impact of Reflection and Diversion on Conformity to Aspirations
A Supernatural Experiment: The Effects of Religiosity on Behavior (with Joseph Connors and Hugo Montesinos)
The Effects of Religious Fractionalization on the Regulation of Religious Practice in the United States (with Kathleen Sheehan)